One of my new users ran The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine for the first time and had a question about the design of the game board and how it all plays out with the weather. I thought that my thinking about how this should work and why we designed it this way might be useful for other users. Here is what he said:
If you look at the first cell after Apache Junction, it is connected on all three routes!
- This will allow a team to move from one route to the other without having the teams to come back to base – Is my understanding correct?
- In that case, shouldn’t the weather pattern be the same on day one for all the routes?
I understand that this is a bit tricky, especially when teams can move out on Day 1, 2 or 3 based on them taking the videos and I would love to hear your thoughts on the same.
And here is my thinking about how this works and why:
YES, if they leave Apache junction, the start up point, they go into a block that surrounds AJ and that connects to all three routes.
Leaving on Day One, with the rainy weather pattern on that day, they get punished for not planning and getting a Video. They use up an extra Fuel Card and they can see that will happen before they commit to actually leaving. There is no way around that weather — they are OUT and in a block that is “muddy” in how it is drawn with the light brown dirt and the squiggly lines.
The rules say that this Mud does NOT occur on the High Country or Plateau Trails. But if you look at the map, the signs marking those trails start on the NEXT block and not this one.
Having one large surrounding block enables a team to take ANY route on Day 2 — they can change their mind at no cost and simply go a different way. If they had planned to go on the Low Country Trail and Day One is MUDDY, one might expect a logical team to question that decision (they just got some new negative data!!) and take another route. This, of course, never happens!!
They could also get information from teams that get The Videos and choose to go up to the Mine using the High Country or Plateau Trails on Day 2.
The weather for Day One is the same for all three routes — Yes. Day One is Day One and they are in a block that is colored muddy, lined as muddy, and is clearly their first step out of AJ. If they stay at AJ, they consume 1 and 1. If they leave it is 1 and 2.
PLUS, there is Rule Number One —
The reality of being in charge is that the weather and the consumption of resources IS what you TELL THEM it is! Some might argue. Some might simply be confused so you explain the rules again. Some might try to cheat and save a fuel. But it is simple: If they leave on Day One, the cost is an extra Fuel Card!
There is nothing “tricky” about any of this. It is very simple and straightforward. It is highly congruent with my thinking and the benefits of planning to their individual team success and to the overall success of the group…
Note that you can always simply do what makes the best sense for the expedition at any time. That is simply good leadership of any expedition in any workplace – do what makes sense. Having a Rule Number One is certainly helpful! (grin)
There are a number of similarly elegant little nuances to the map, like the movements around the Supply Depot near the Mine and the use of a Turbo for movement there as well as the actual number of days from AJ to the mine with the other resources available. Some of these features were simply the result of luck on my part and some were thought out — this one with the design of the block surrounding AJ was a planned one!
We think that this game is pretty tight and easy to deliver. Over 20 years, we think that we have very congruent rules that make it easy to tie to themes of project management, strategic planning, team collaboration and inter-departmental collaboration, and to all sorts of issues around organizational alignment, leadership development and strategy implementation.
It also seems to generate the same kinds of play and debriefing discussions. The above was from a user in India, but it could have been Germany or Dubai.
Oh, did I mention that a major goal is to also have fun?
You can find more about The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine by clicking on this link that takes you to our overview on Slideshare.
Clicking on the link that is the image below will take you to an overview of the games on our website.
You can also see the many articles in the blog about the game by clicking on my image below.
For the Fun of It!
Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.